Apple could be the next target of new Chinese government rules forcing U.S. companies to store more user data in the country, analysts and legal experts say. Those rules have so far forced Tesla to store local driver data in China and contributed to LinkedIn pulling back from its operations there.
Legal experts say Chinese authorities are likely to pressure Apple to store more data about its Chinese users in China, where local law enforcement officials can potentially access it. But that could put Apple in a bind. If Apple complies with the new rules, it could face increased criticism from U.S. lawmakers and human rights activists for making it easier for Chinese authorities to surveil their citizens.
But if it chooses not to comply, it faces potential punishment. Chinese authorities at times have made it difficult for the company to operate in the country by shutting down its services.